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Duffa Gaum

(Arunachal Pradesh)

Duffa Gaum hailed from the Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh, India, held a position of prominence as one of the influential Singpho Chiefs in the village of Duffa (also known as Duffadan). His story is intertwined with a tumultuous period in history. He was forcibly exiled to Burma by Beesa Gaum, who had been elevated by the British as the Paramount Chief of the Singphos in 1829. This displacement fueled Duffa Gaum’s intense hostility towards the British for their support of his arch-rival. In response to his grievances, he conspired with other dissatisfied Singpho Chiefs to stage a revolt against the British.

In 1835, Duffa Gaum, harboring a deep-seated animosity towards the British Government, launched a surprise attack in Beesa territory, resulting in the loss of approximately 90 lives. In response, Captain White was entrusted with the mission to march from Beesa with 246 troops to confront Duffa Gaum, who had fortified himself in stockades on the hills of Menaboon, preparing for the impending attack.

Duffa Gaum and his contingent of 400 soldiers fiercely engaged the British forces. The encounter was protracted, with the British troops taking over an hour to repel Duffa Gaum and his men. In the process, Lieutenant Miller, the officer in charge of the mortars, sustained severe injuries, and 1 Havildar and 10 Sepoys lost their lives. On the Singphos’ side, 35 individuals were killed, and 40 were wounded. Following the retreat of Duffa Gaum and his forces to the hills, the British Government responded with harsh measures against the Singpho Chiefs suspected of supporting Duffa Gaum directly or indirectly in the battle against the British. They faced severe punishment, with their villages being razed and destroyed. Crops were laid to waste, and their livestock and possessions were confiscated.